MotoOnline.com.au recaps Wonthaggi with Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing’s MX1 winner.
Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing’s Brad Anderson entered the 2012 Monster Energy MX Nationals as a title contender and he’s already living up to that expectation after winning at Wonthaggi on the weekend.
Anderson has climbed to within 20 points of series leader Josh Coppins despite a DNF in the final moto at Conondale’s season opener, and he’s now got his sights set on that number one position.
With Wanneroo right around the corner, another track Anderson has ridden in the past, he’s on track for a big battle with Coppins and the pair of them will be hard to challenge in the sand.
MotoOnline.com.au spoke to Anderson to find out a little more about his weekend at Wonthaggi and to get his opinion on Australian motocross since he was last here in 2010.
You were able to win at Wonthaggi on Sunday, your first round victory of 2012, so it must be nice to get that first one out of the way?
Yeah, well I had a bit of pressure on myself because of the mistake that we had in the first round with the bike, we lost a lot of points. Then coming into round two I didn’t feel good and I hurt my wrist with a little crash. I didn’t gel with the track, so I had pressure for round three.
I didn’t want to let the points slip too far away because they’re hard to get back, so coming to Wonthaggi I knew it was a good track and they prepared it awesome. It just felt really good for the win.
I know you’ve spent a little bit of time at the track since you’re based in Victoria. Did having it familiar help you on the weekend?
I knew the track layout, where round two I forgot every corner and every jump because there’s that much going on around there. It was hard to get everything dialled in, being my first time there.
With Wonthaggi I had it all dialled in, I knew the track layout and yeah, it was pretty good. I rode the VIC titles there and did a test there to try out the new jumps, so year, I felt really good.
Has the series changed much since you won all three motos at Raymond Terrace in 2010?
I don’t know if it’s changed that much. Obviously they’ve changed the format, because when I cam over we had three 20 minutes and that was a lot better. The two 15 minutes, which are five laps, is so hard to get used to because if you don’t get a good start, it’s hard to come through.
At least with the half hour moto if you get a bad start like I did in the last one on the weekend, you’ve got time to come through. The two strongest people at the end of the race I’d say is me and Josh [Coppins], even though Cody Cooper had a good one and got out there [on Sunday].
So that’s the biggest change to last time I came out here. I would say the field’s a bit stronger, but I felt more comfortable last time because it was halfway through the season. I didn’t get no arm pump, had no pressure and just rode my own race.
Now I have pressure because I have to get my points back and the field is pretty strong, but I just have to put that behind me and try to get on with the races.
I saw on the weekend you had a couple of little incidents on the track, one in warm-up with a slower rider and then one in the final moto with Lawson Bopping when you both went down. It’s been aggressive out there…
Well I think in practice a lot of people look at you and think oh I want to race this factory rider and that makes riders like myself get wound up, because he’s moved over and then chased over, or… you see what I’m saying?
They see Brad Anderson and they want to be a factory rider, and they’re on a Honda, which doesn’t make sense. That’s why I was shaking my head, thinking why don’t you try follow my lines?
Then with Bopping, I’d have probably done the same thing, or try to have done the same thing. He wants to win me as much as I want to win him. I made a pass that I don’t think anybody would have tried. I didn’t knock into him, but I think we were struggling to get into the same line around the finish corner.
Then I think he saw red mist, came up the inside and kept going, wiped us both out. I was quite lucky to pick it up in time, so I saw red mist while I was on the floor, but I don’t know how I managed to keep my nerve.
I got the bike up and when I picked it up, my leg hit Bopping’s bike and he went down the other way. I saw Todd [Waters] coming around, and I knew I had to beat Todd, which I managed to do with two laps to go.
In the championship, you’re 20 points off Coppins, which is good considering your DNF at round one was no fault of your own. What’s the plan from this point?
I’ve looked at the situation, if I didn’t have that DNF I would be two points in the lead now, but I have to put that behind us and get on with it. I need to dig as hard as I can and try to be in front of Josh as much as I can.
That’s my goal, even if it’s a couple of points every round – if I get three points at every round that will make it up. I’m just working on trying to beat Josh, I know he’s strong in the half hour, but I feel just as strong as him. I think it’s going to be close.